Some singles who look for love in Los Angeles face certain challenges. Meeting strangers at a bar rarely leads to lasting love, trying to date within your social circles can be difficult if you already know everyone, and online dating can be as time consuming as a full-time job. So what’s a single person to do?
Recently, I found an answer.
On July 28, 2011, Chevrolet partnered with SpeedLA Dating to form the Chevrolet Drive N’ Date. This event was similar to traditional speed dating, but with a twist. Instead of daters sitting at tables, they met their potential matches in the backseat of eleven different Chevy cars, ranging from an electric model, The Chevrolet Volt, to a luxury sedan, the Cadillac SRX. Basically, “A” would remain in the car, and “B” would hop inside. They would go for a spin around the block, and once they returned to the starting point, “B” would be swapped for another dater.
The event was held at the Avalon Hotel in Beverly Hills, and all of the daters there had come dressed to impress. Although the Drive N’ Date was a one-time event, I learned a lot about the speed dating process that night.
After speaking with the majority of the men there, I learned that many had participated in speed-dating several times before, and that after their first event, they were asked to come back, free of charge. Their theories were that more women signed up for speed-dating, and thus there were extra slots for the men to fill. (One dater noted, however, that he was the only one of his male friends to ever get asked back, which makes me think that this opportunity only happens in special circumstances.)
“The first time I ever tried speed dating, it was because a friend dragged me. I ended up having fun, and when they asked me to come back, I figured, “Why not?”” Mark,* an investment broker, said. “Tonight’s event is the eighth time I’ve speed dated, and I prefer this to online dating because it’s an easy way to meet lots of people. Plus, you can instantly tell whether or not there is chemistry.”
This explains the benefits for men, but why is speed dating as popular with females as Ladies Night at the club?
One reason is that women tend to go to these events in groups. They are there to look for dates, but also they see it as a fun girls’ night out, which makes sense. SpeedLA hosts their events at chic locations, everyone at the event is dressed to the nines, and the food and liquor available are top-notch.
“Why go to a club and wade through a sea of creeps, when you can go speed dating and meet single, like-minded people in a relaxed environment?” advertising executive Janet* said.
While speed dating is not perfect (a few said that events did not yield any “real dates” and that some mini-dates, despite the short length, dragged on), the participants at the Chevrolet Drive N’ Date believed speed dating was a good alternative or supplement to online dating.
“I wasn’t meeting new people so I tried online dating, but I found online dating to be too time-consuming—looking through dozens of profiles, writing up emails, taking strangers out on first dates… So when I tried speed dating for the first time, I was hooked,” screenwriter Ethan said. “If I don’t find anyone tonight, I’m definitely coming back.”
*All names have been changed